Britain's five-star show

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The Independent Online

British riders made it five equestrian gold medals in the Paralympics in Athens by taking the team title yesterday for the third time in succession.

Lee Pearson and Debbie Criddle, who had both won two individual golds, had the top two scores among the 32 riders from nine nations contesting the team dressage, Pearson finishing on 76.842pts with Blue Circle Boy and Criddle on 75.538pts with Figaro IX.

No other team had more than one rider finishing in the 70s. Britain, already holding a lead of nearly 10 points from the first competition, won by the enormous margin of 27.757pts.

Pearson, who uses crutches for walking, was the undisputed star. His winning freestyle round on Thursday, in which he achieved an incredible 87 per cent, was the highlight of the equestrian events.

Elsewhere, a tandem cyclist from Slovakia was stripped of his silver medal and three powerlifters, from Iran, Syria and Estonia, were banned for two years after positive drugs tests.

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